Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History. London: Bohn (1862) Book 21. pp. 242-276.
[Translated by C.D.YONGE]
§ 1. While Constantius was detained by this perplexing war beyond the Euphrates, Julian at Vienne devoted his days and nights to forming plans for the future, as far as his limited resources would allow; being in great suspense, and continually doubting whether to try every expedient to win Constantius over to friendship, or to anticipate his attack, with the view of alarming him.
2. And while anxiously considering these points he feared him, as likely to be in the one case a cruel friend, while in the other case he recollected that he had always been successful in civil disturbances. Above all things his anxiety was increased by the example of his brother Gallus, who had been betrayed by his own want of caution and the perjured deceit of certain individuals.
3. Nevertheless he often raised himself to ideas of energetic action, thinking it safest to show himself as an avowed enemy to him whose movements he could, as a prudent man, judge of only from his past actions, in order not to be entrapped by secret snares founded on pretended friendship.
4. Therefore, paying little attention to the letters which Constantius had sent by Leonas, and admitting none of his appointments with the exception of that of Nebridius, he |244 now celebrated the Quinquennalia as emperor, and wore a splendid diadem inlaid with precious stones, though when first entering on that power he had worn but a paltry-looking crown like that of a president of the public games.
5. At this time also he sent the body of his wife Helen, recently deceased, to Rome, to be buried in the suburb on the road to Nomentum, where also Constantina, his sister-in-law, the wife of Gallus, had been buried.
6. His desire to march against Constantius, now that Gaul was tranquillized, was inflamed by the belief which he had adopted from many omens (in the interpretation of which he had great skill), and from dreams that the emperor would soon die.
7. And since malignant people have attributed to this prince, so erudite and so eager to acquire all knowledge, wicked practices for the purpose of learning future events, we may here briefly point out how this important branch of learning may be acquired by a wise man.
8. The spirit which directs all the elements, and which at all times and throughout all places exercises its activity by the movement of these eternal bodies, can communicate to us the capacity of foreseeing the future by the sciences which we attain through various kinds of discipline. And the ruling powers, when properly propitiated, as from everlasting springs, supply mankind with words of prophecy, over which the deity of Themis is said to preside, and which, because she teaches men to know what has been settled for the future by the law of Fate, has received that name from the Greek word τεθειμένα (" fixed"), and has been placed by ancient theologians in the bed and on the throne of Jupiter, who gives life to all the world.
9. Auguries and auspices are not collected from the will of birds who are themselves ignorant of the future (for there is no one so silly as to say they understand it); but God directs the flight of birds, so that the sound of their beaks, or the motion of their feathers, whether quiet or disturbed, indicates the character of the future. For the |245 kindness of the deity, whether it be that men deserve it, or that he is touched by affection for them, likes by these acts to give information of what is impending.
10. Again, those who attend to the prophetic entrails of cattle, which often take all kinds of shapes, learn from them what happens. Of this practice a man called Tages was the inventor, who, as is reported, was certainly seen to rise up out of the earth in the district of Etruria.
11. Men too, when their hearts are in a state of excitement, foretell the future, but then they are speaking under divine inspiration. For the sun, which is, as natural philosophers say, the mind of the world, and which scatters our minds among us as sparks proceeding from itself, when it has inflamed them with more than usual vehemence, renders them conscious of the future. From which the Sibyls often say they are burning and fired by a vast power of flames; and with reference to these cases the sound of voices, various signs, thunder, lightning, thunderbolts, and falling-stars, have a great significance.
12. But the belief in dreams would be strong and undoubted if the interpreters of them were never deceived; and sometimes, as Aristotle asserts, they are fixed and stable when the eye of the person, being soundly asleep, turns neither way, but looks straight forward.
13. And because the ignorance of the vulgar often talks loudly, though ignorantly, against these ideas, asking why, if there were any faculty of foreseeing the future, one man should be ignorant that he would be killed in battle, or another that he would meet with some misfortune, and so on; it will be enough to reply that sometimes a grammarian has spoken incorrectly, or a musician has sung out of tune, or a physician been ignorant of the proper remedy for a disease; but these facts do not disprove the existence of the sciences of grammar, music, or medicine.
14. So that Cicero is right in this as well as other sayings of his, when he says, "Signs of future events are shown by the gods; if any one mistakes them he errs, not because of the nature of the gods, but because of the conjectures of men." But lest this discussion, running on this point beyond the goal, as the proverb is, should disgust the reader, we will now return to relate what follows. |246
§ 1. While Julian, still with the rank of Caesar only, was at Paris one day, exercising himself in the camp-field., and moving his shield in various directions, the joints by which it was fastened gave way, and the handle alone remained in his hand, which he still held firmly, and when those present were alarmed, thinking it a bad omen, he said, "Let no one be alarmed, I still hold firmly what I had before."
2. And again, when one day after a slight dinner, he was sleeping at Vienne, in the middle of the darkness of the night a figure of unusual splendour appeared to him, and when he was all but awake, repeated to him the following heroic verses, reciting them over and over again; which he believed, so that he felt sure that no ill fortune remained for him:—
"When Jove has passed the water-carrier's sign,
And Saturn's light, for five-and-twenty days
Has lightened up the maid; the king divine
Of Asia's land shall enter on the ways
That painful lead to death and Styx's gloomy maze."
3. Therefore in the mean time he made no change in the existing condition of affairs, but arranged everything that occurred with a quiet and easy mind, gradually strengthening himself, in order to make the increase of his power correspond with the increase of his dignity.
4. And in order, without any hindrance, to conciliate the goodwill of all men, he pretended to adhere to the Christian religion, which in fact he had long since secretly abandoned, though very few were aware of his private opinions, giving up his whole attention to soothsaying and divination, and the other arts which have always been practised by the worshippers of the gods.
5. But to conceal this for a while, on the day of the festival at the beginning of January, which the Christians call Epiphany, he went into their church, and offered solemn public prayer to their God.
§ 1. While these events were proceeding, and spring was coming on, Julian was suddenly smitten with grief and sorrow by unexpected intelligence. For he learnt that |247 the Allemanni had poured forth from the district of Vadomarius, in which quarter, after the treaty which had been made with him, no troubles had been anticipated, and were laying waste the borders of the Tyrol, pouring their predatory bands over the whole frontier, and leaving nothing unravaged.
2. He feared that if this were passed over it might rekindle the flames of war; and so at once sent a count named Libino, with the Celtic and Petulantes legions, who were in winter quarters with him, to put a decided and immediate end to this affair.
3. Libino marched with speed, and arrived at Seckingen; but was seen while at a distance by the barbarians, who had already hidden themselves in the valleys with the intention of giving him battle. His soldiers were inferior in number, but very eager for battle; and he, after haranguing them, rashly attacked the Germans, and at the very beginning of the fight was slain among the first. At his death the confidence of the barbarians increased, while the Romans were excited to avenge their general; and so the conflict proceeded with great obstinacy, but our men were overpowered by numbers, though their loss in killed and wounded was but small.
4. Constantius, as has been related, had made peace with this Vadomarius, and his brother Gundomadus, who was also a king. And when afterwards Gundomadus died, thinking that Vadomarius would be faithful to him, and a silent and vigorous executor of his secret orders (if one may believe what is only report), he gave him directions by letter to harass the countries on his borders, as if he had broken off the treaty of peace, in order to keep Julian, through his fears of him, from ever abandoning the protection of Gaul.
5. In obedience to these directions, it is fair to believe that Vadomarius committed this and other similar actions; being a man from his earliest youth marvellously skilled in artifice and deceit, as he afterwards showed when he enjoyed the dukedom of Phoenice.
6. But now, being discovered, he desisted from his hostilities. For one of his secretaries, whom he had sent to Constantius, was taken prisoner by Julian's outposts, and |248 when he was searched to see if he was the bearer of anything, a letter was found on him, which contained these words among others, "Your Caesar is not submissive." But when he wrote to Julian he always addressed him as lord, and emperor, and god.
§ 1. These affairs were full of danger and doubt; and Julian considering them likely to lead to absolute destruction, bent all his mind to the one object of seizing Vadomarius unawares, through the rapidity of his movements, in order to secure his own safety and that of the provinces. And the plan which he decided on was this.
2. He sent to those districts Philagrius, one of his secretaries, afterwards count of the East, in whose proved prudence and fidelity he could thoroughly rely; and besides a general authority to act as he could upon emergencies, he gave him also a paper signed by himself, which he bade him not to open nor read unless Vadomarius appeared on the western side of the Rhine.
3. Philagrius went as he was ordered, and while he was in that district busying himself with various arrangements, Vadomarius crossed the river, as if he had nothing to fear, in a time of profound peace, and pretending to know of nothing having been done contrary to treaty, when he saw the commander of the troops who were stationed there, made him a short customary speech, and to remove all suspicion, of his own accord promised to come to a banquet to which Philagrius also had been invited.
4. As soon as Philagrius arrived, when he saw the king, he recollected Julian's words, and pretending some serious and urgent business, returned to his lodging, where having read the paper intrusted to him, and learnt what he was to do, he immediately returned and took his seat among the rest.
5. But when the banquet was over he boldly arrested Vadomarius, and gave him to the commander of the forces, to be kept in strict custody in the camp, reading to him the commands he had received; but as nothing was mentioned about Vadomarius's retinue, he ordered them to return to their own country. |249
6. But the king was afterwards conducted to Julian's camp, and despaired of pardon when he heard that his secretary had been taken, and the letters which he had written to Constantius read; he was however not even reproached by Julian, but merely sent off to Spain, as it was an object of great importance that, while Julian was absent from Gaul, this ferocious man should not be able to throw into confusion the provinces which had been tranquillized with such great difficulty.
7. Julian, being much elated at this occurrence, since the king, whom he feared to leave behind him while at a distance, had been caught more quickly than he expected, without delay prepared to attack the barbarians who, as we have just related, had slain Count Libino and some of his soldiers in battle.
8. And to prevent any rumour of his approach giving them warning to retire to remoter districts, he passed the Rhine by night with great silence, with some of the most rapid of his auxiliary bands; and so came upon them while fearing nothing of the sort. And he at once attacked them the moment they were first roused by the sound of enemies, and while still examining their swords and javelins; some he slew, some he took prisoners, who sued for mercy and offered to surrender their booty; to the rest who remained and implored peace, and promised to be quiet for the future, he granted peace.
§ 1. While these transactions were carried on in this spirited manner, Julian, considering to what great internal divisions his conduct had given rise, and that nothing is so advantageous for the success of sudden enterprise as celerity of action, saw with his usual sagacity that if he openly avowed his revolt from the emperor, he should be safer; and feeling uncertain of the fidelity of the soldiers, having offered secret propitiatory sacrifices to Bellona, he summoned the army by sound of trumpet to an assembly, and standing on a tribune built of stone, with every appearance of confidence in his manner, he spoke thus with a voice unusually loud:—
2. "I imagine that you, my gallant comrades, exalted by the greatness of your own achievements, have long been |250 silently expecting this meeting, in order to form a previous judgment of, and to take wise measures against the events which may be expected. For soldiers united by glorious actions ought to hear rather than speak; nor ought a commander of proved justice to think anything but what is worthy of praise and approbation. That therefore I may explain to you what I propose, I entreat you to listen favourably to what I will briefly set before you.
3. "From my earliest year, by the will of God, I have been placed among you, with whom I have crushed the incessant inroads of the Franks and Allemanni, and checked the endless licentiousness of their ravages; by our united vigour we have opened the Rhine to the Roman armies, whenever they choose to cross it; standing immovable against reports, as well as against the violent attacks of powerful nations, because I trusted to the invincibility of your valour.
4. "Gaul, which has beheld our labours, and which, after much slaughter and many periods of protracted and severe disasters, is at last replaced in a healthy state, will for ever bear witness to posterity of our achievements.
5. "But now since, constrained both by the authority of your judgment, and also by the necessity of the case, I have been raised to the rank of emperor, under the favour of God and of you, I aim at still greater things, if fortune should smile on my undertakings. Boasting at least that I have secured to the army, whose equity and mighty exploits are so renowned, a moderate and merciful chief in time of peace, and in war a prudent and wary leader against the combined forces of the barbarians.
6. "In order therefore that by the cordial unanimity of our opinions we may prevent ill fortune by anticipating it, I beg you to follow my counsel, salutary, as I think it, since the state of our affairs corresponds to the purity of my intentions and wishes. And while the legions of Illyricum are occupied by no greater force than usual, let us occupy the further frontier of Dacia; and then take counsel from our success what is to be done next.
7. "But as brave generals, I entreat you to promise with an oath that you will adhere to me with unanimity and fidelity; while I will give my customary careful attention to prevent anything from being done rashly or carelessly; and if any one requires it, will pledge my |251 own unsullied honour that I will never attempt nor think of anything but what is for the common good.
8. "This especially I request and beseech you to observe, that none of you let any impulse of sudden ardour lead, you to inflict injury on any private individual; recollecting that our greatest renown is not derived so much from the numberless defeats of the enemy as from the safety of the provinces, and their freedom from injury, which is celebrated as an eminent example of our virtue."
9. The emperor's speech was approved as though it had been the voice of an oracle, and the whole assembly was greatly excited, and being eager for a change, they all with one consent raised a tremendous shout, and beat their shields with a violent crash, calling him a great and noble general, and, as had been proved, a fortunate conqueror and king.
10. And being all ordered solemnly to swear fidelity to him, they put their swords to their throats with terrible curses, and took the oath in the prescribed form, that for him they would undergo every kind of suffering, and even death itself, if necessity should require it; and their officers and all the friends of the prince gave a similar pledge with the same forms.
11. Nebridius the prefect alone, boldly and unshakenly refused, declaring that he could not possibly bind himself by an oath hostile to Constantius, from whom he had received many and great obligations.
12. When these words of his were heard, the soldiers who were nearest to him were greatly enraged, and wished to kill him; but he threw himself at the feet of Julian, who shielded him with his cloak. Presently, when he returned to the palace, Nebridius appeared before him, threw himself at his feet as a suppliant, and entreated him to relieve his fears by giving him his right hand. Julian replied, "Will there be any conspicuous favour reserved for my own friends if you are allowed to touch my hand? However, depart in peace as you will." On receiving this answer, Nebridius retired in safety to his own house in Tuscany.
13. By these preliminary measures, Julian having learnt, as the importance of the affair required, what great influence promptness and being beforehand has in a |252 tumultuous state of affairs, gave the signal to march towards Pannonia, and advancing his standard and his camp, boldly committed himself to fickle fortune.
§ 1. It is fitting now to retrace our steps and to relate briefly what (while these events just related were taking place in Gaul) Constantius, who passed the winter at Antioch, did, whether in peace or war.
2. Besides many others of high rank, some of the most distinguished tribunes generally come to salute an emperor on his arrival from distant lands. And accordingly, when Constantius, on his return from Mesopotamia, received this compliment, a Paphlagonian named Amphilochius, who had been a tribune, and whom suspicion, not very far removed from the truth, hinted at as having, while serving formerly under Constans, sown the seeds of discord between him and his brother, now ventured, with no little audacity, to come forward as if he were to be admitted to pay his duty in this way, but was recognized and refused admittance. Many also raised an outcry against him, crying out that he, as a stubborn rebel, ought not to be permitted to see another day. But Constantius, on this occasion more merciful than usual, said, "Cease to press upon a man who, indeed, as I believe, is guilty, but who has not been convicted. And remember that if he has done anything of the kind, he, as long as he is in my sight, will be punished by the judgment of his own conscience, which he will not be able to escape." And so he departed.
3. The next day, at the Circensian games, the same man was present as a spectator, just opposite the usual seat of the emperor, when a sudden shout was raised at the moment of the commencement of the expected contest; the barriers, on which he with many others was leaning, were broken, and the whole crowd as well as he were thrown forward into the empty space; and though a few were slightly hurt, he alone was found to be killed, having received some internal injury. At which Constantius rejoiced, prognosticating from this omen protection from his other enemies. |253
4. About the same time (his wife Eusebia having died some time before) he took another wife, named Faustina. Eusebia's brothers were two men of consular rank, Hypatius and Eusebius. She had been a woman of pre-eminent beauty both of person and character, and for one of her high rank most courteous and humane. And to her favour and justice it was owing, as we have already mentioned, that Julian was saved from danger and declared Caesar.
5. About the same time Florentius also was rewarded, who had quitted Gaul from fear of a revolution. He was now appointed to succeed Anatolius, the prefect of the praetorium in Illyricum, who had lately died. And in conjunction with Taurus, who was appointed to the same office in Italy, he received the ensigns of this most honourable dignity.
6. Nevertheless, the preparations for both foreign and civil wars went on, the number of the squadrons of cavalry was augmented, and reinforcements for the legions were enlisted with equal zeal, recruits being collected all over the provinces. Also every class and profession was exposed to annoyances, being called upon to furnish arms, clothes, military engines, and even gold and silver and abundant stores of provisions, and various kinds of animals.
7. And because, as the king of Persia had been compelled unwillingly to fall back on account of the difficulties of the winter, it was feared that as soon as the weather became open he would return with greater impetuosity than ever, ambassadors were sent to the kings and satraps across the Tigris, with splendid presents, to advise and entreat them all to join us, and abstain from all designs or plots against us.
8. But the most important object of all was to win over Arsaces and Meribanes, the kings of Armenia and Hiberia, who were conciliated by the gift of magnificent and honourable robes and by presents of all kinds, and who could have done great harm to the Roman interests if at such a crisis they had gone over to the Persians.
9. At this important time, Hermogenes died, and was succeeded in his prefecture by Helpidius, a native of Paphlagonia, a man of mean appearance and no eloquence, but of a frank and truthful disposition, humane and |254 merciful. So much so that once when Constantius ordered an innocent man to be put to the torture before him, he calmly requested to be deprived of his office, and that such commissions might be given to others who would discharge them in a manner more in accordance with the emperor's sentence.
§ 1. Constantius was perplexed at the danger of the crisis before him, and doubted what to do, being for some time in deep anxiety whether to march against Julian, who was still at a distance, or to drive back the Persians, who were already threatening to cross the Euphrates. And while he was hesitating, and often taking counsel with his generals, he at last decided that he would first finish, or at all events take the edge off, the war which was nearest, so as to leave nothing formidable behind him, and then penetrate through Illyricum and Italy, thinking to catch Julian at the very outset of his enterprise, as he might catch a deer with hounds. For so he used to boast, to appease the fears of those about him.
2. But that his purpose might not appear to cool, and that he might not seem to have neglected any side of the war, he spread formidable rumours of his approach in every direction. And fearing that Africa, which on all occasions seemed to invite usurpers, might be invaded during his absence, as if he had already quitted the eastern frontier, he sent by sea to that country his secretary Gaudentius, whom we have already mentioned as a spy upon the actions of Julian in Gaul.
3. He had two reasons for thinking that this man would be able with prompt obedience to do all that he desired, both because he feared the other side, which he had offended, and also because he was anxious to take this opportunity to gain the favour of Constantius, whom he expected beyond a doubt to see victorious. Indeed no one at that time had any other opinion.
4. When Gaudentius arrived in Africa, recollecting the emperor's orders, he sent letters to Count Cretio, and to the other officers, to instruct them what his object was; and having collected a formidable force from all quarters, and having brought over a light division of skirmishers from |255 the two Mauritanias, he watched the coasts opposite to Italy and Gaul with great strictness.
5. Nor was Constantius deceived in the wisdom of this measure. For as long as Gaudentius lived none of the adverse party ever reached that country, although a vast multitude in arms was watching the Sicilian coast between Cape Boeo and Cape Passaro, and ready to cross in a moment if they could find an opportunity.
6. Having made these arrangements as well as the case admitted, in such a way as he thought most for his advantage, and having settled other things also of smaller importance, Constantius was warned by messengers and letters from his generals that the Persian army, in one solid body, and led by its haughty king, was now marching close to the banks of the Tigris, though it was as yet uncertain at what point they meant to cross the frontier.
7. And he, feeling the importance of this intelligence, in order, by being near them, to anticipate their intended enterprises, quitted his winter quarters in haste, having called in the infantry and cavalry on which he could rely from all quarters, crossed the Euphrates by a bridge of boats at Capessana, and marched towards Edessa, which was well provisioned and strongly fortified, intending to wait there a short time till he could receive from spies or deserters certain information of the enemy's motions.
§ 1. In the mean time, Julian leaving the district of Basle, and having taken all the steps which we have already mentioned, sent Sallustius, whom he had promoted to be a prefect, into Gaul, and appointed Germanianus to succeed Nebridius. At the same time he gave Nevitta the command of the heavy cavalry, being afraid of the old traitor Gumoarius, who, when he was commander of the Scutarii, he heard had secretly betrayed his chief officer, Vetranio. The quaestorship he gave to Jovius, of whom we have spoken when relating the acts of Magnentius, and the treasury he allotted to Mamertinus. Dagalaiphus also was made captain of the household guard, and many others, with whose merits and fidelity he was acquainted, received different commands at his discretion. |256
2. Being now about to march through the Black Forest, and the country lying on the banks of the Danube, he on a sudden conceived great doubt and fear whether the smallness of his force might not breed contempt, and encourage the numerous population of the district to resist his advance.
3. To prevent this, he took prudent precautions, and distributing his army into divisions, he sent some under Jovenius and Jovius to advance with all speed by the well-trodden roads of Italy; others under the command of Nevitta, the commander of the cavalry, were to take the inland road of the Tyrol. So that his army, by being scattered over various countries, might cause a belief that its numbers were immense, and might fill all nations with fear. Alexander the Great, and many other skilful generals, had done the same thing when their affairs required it.
4. But he charged them, when they set forth, to march with all speed, as if likely to meet at any moment with an enemy, and carefully to post watches and sentries and outposts at night, so as to be free from the danger of any sudden attack.
§ 1. These things having been arranged according to the best of his judgment, Julian adhering to the maxim by which he had often forced his way through the countries of the barbarians, and trusting in his continued successes, proceeded in his advance.
2. And when he had reached the spot at which he had been informed that the river was navigable, he embarked on board some boats which good fortune had brought thither in numbers, and passed as secretly as he could down the stream, escaping notice the more because his habits of endurance and fortitude had made him indifferent to delicate food; so that, being contented with meagre and poor fare, he did not care to approach their towns or camps, forming his conduct in this respect according to the celebrated saying of the ancient Cyrus, who, when he was introduced to a host who asked him what he wished to have got ready for supper, answered, "Nothing beyond bread, for that he hoped he should sup by the side of a river." |257
3. But Fame, which, as they say, having a thousand tongues, always exaggerates the truth, at this time spread abroad a report among all the tribes of Illyricum that Julian, having overthrown a number of kings and nations in Gaul, was coming on flushed with success and with a numerous army.
4. Jovinus, the prefect of the praetorium, being alarmed at this rumour, fled in haste, as if from a foreign enemy; and going by the public conveyances with frequent relays, he crossed the Julian Alps, taking with him also Florentius the prefect.
5. But Count Lucillianus, who at that time had the command of the army in these districts, being at Sirmium, and having received some slight intelligence of Julian's movements, collected the soldiers whom the emergency gave time for being quickly called from their several stations, and proposed to resist his advance.
6. Julian, however, like a firebrand or torch once kindled, hastened quickly to his object; and when, at the waning of the moon, he had reached Bonmunster, which is about nineteen miles from Sirmium, and when, therefore, the main part of the night was dark, he unexpectedly quitted his boats, and at once sent forward Dagalaiphus with his light troops to summon Lucillianus to his presence, and to drag him before him if he resisted.
7. He was asleep, and when he was awakened by the violence of this uproar, and saw himself surrounded by a crowd of strangers, perceiving the state of the case, and being filled with awe at the name of the emperor, he obeyed his orders, though sadly against his will. And though commander of the cavalry, a little while before proud and fierce, he now obeyed the will of another, and mounting a horse which was brought him on a sudden, he was led before Julian as an ignoble prisoner, and from fear was hardly able to collect his senses.
8. But as soon as he saw the emperor, and was relieved by receiving permission to offer his salutations to his purple robe, he recovered his courage, and feeling safe said, " You have been incautious and rash, O emperor, to trust yourself with but a few troops in the country of another." But Julian, with a sarcastic smile, replied, " Keep these prudent |258 speeches for Constantius. I offered you the ensign of my royal rank to ease you of your fears, and not to take you for my counsellor."
§ 1. So after he had got rid of Lucillianus, thinking no further delay or hesitation admissible, being bold and confident in all emergencies, and on the way, as he presumed, to a city inclined to surrender, he marched on with great speed. When he came near the suburbs, which are very large and much extended, a vast crowd of soldiers and of every class of the population came forth to meet him with lights and flowers and auspicious prayers, and after saluting him as emperor and lord, conducted him to the palace.
2. He, pleased at these favourable omens, and conceiving therefrom a sanguine hope of future success, concluded that the example of so populous and illustrious a metropolis would be followed as a guiding-star by other cities also, and therefore on the very next day exhibited a chariot race, to the great joy of the people. On the third day, unable to brook any delay, he proceeded by the public roads, and without any resistance seized upon Succi, and appointed Nevitta governor of the place, as one whom he could trust. It is fitting that I should now explain the situation of this place Succi.
3. The summits of the mountain chains of Haemus and Rhodope, the first of which rises up from the very banks of the Danube, and the other from the southern bank of the river Axius, ending with swelling ridges at one narrow point, separate the Illyrians and the Thracians, being on the one side near the inland Dacians and Serdica, on the other looking towards Thrace and the rich and noble city of Philippopolis. And, as if Nature had provided for bringing the surrounding nations under the dominion of the Romans, they are of such a form as to lead to this end. Affording at first only a single exit through narrow defiles, but at a later period they were opened out with roads of such size and beauty as to be passable even for waggons. Though still, when the passes have been blocked up, they |259 have often repelled the attacks of great generals and mighty armies.
4. The part which looks to Illyricum is of a more gentle ascent, so as to be climbed almost imperceptibly; but the side opposite to Thrace is very steep and precipitous, in some places absolutely impassable, and in others hard to climb even where no one seeks to prevent it. Beneath this lofty chain a spacious level plain extends in every direction, the upper portion of it reaching even to the Julian Alps, while the lower portion of it is so open and level as to present no obstacles all the way to the straits and sea of Marmora.
5. Having arranged these matters as well as the occasion permitted, and having left there the commander of the cavalry, the emperor returned to Nissa, a considerable town, in order, without any hindrance, to settle everything in the way most suited to his interests.
6. While there he appointed Victor, an historical writer, whom he had seen at Sirmium, and whom he ordered to follow him from that city, to be consular governor of the second Pannonia; and he erected in his honour a brazen statue, as a man to be imitated for his temperance; and some time after he was appointed prefect of Rome.
7. And now, giving the rein to loftier ideas, and believing it to be impossible to bring Constantius to terms, he wrote a speech full of bitter invectives to the senate, setting forth many charges of disgrace and vice against him. And when this harangue, Tertullus still being prefect of the city, was read in the senate, the gratitude of the nobles, as well as their splendid boldness, was very conspicuous; for they all cried out with one unanimous feeling, "We expect that you should show reverence to the author of your own greatness."
8. Then he assailed the memory of Constantine also as an innovator and a disturber of established laws and of customs received from ancient times, accusing him of having been the first to promote barbarians to the fasces and robe of the consul. But in this respect he spoke with folly and levity, since, in the face of what he so bitterly reproved, he a very short time afterwards added to Mamertinus, as his colleague in the consulship, Nevitta, a man neither in rank, experience, or reputation at all equal |260 to those on whom Constantine had conferred that illustrous magistracy, but who, on the contrary, was destitute of accomplishments and somewhat rude; and what was less easy to be endured, made a cruel use of his high power.
§ 1. While Julian was occupied with these and similar thoughts, and was anxious about great and important affairs, a messenger came with terrible and unexpected news of the monstrous attempts of some persons which were likely to hinder his fiery progress, unless by prompt vigilance he could crush them before they came to a head, I will briefly relate what they were.
2, Under pretence of urgent necessity, but in reality because he still suspected their fidelity to him, he had sent into Gaul two legions belonging to the army of Constantius, with a troop of archers which he had found at Sirmium. They, moving slowly, and dreading the length of the journey and the fierce and continual attacks of the hostile Germans, planned a mutiny, being prompted and encouraged by Nigrinus, a tribune of a squadron of cavalry, a native of Mesopotamia. And having arranged the matter in secret conferences, and kept it close in profound silence, when they arrived at Aquileia, a city important from its situation and wealth, and fortified with strong walls, they suddenly closed the gates in a hostile manner, the native population, by whom the name of Constantius was still beloved, increasing the confusion and the terror. And having blockaded all the approaches, and armed the towers and battlements, they prepared measures to encounter the impending struggle, being in the mean time free and unrestrained. By this daring conduct they roused the Italian natives of the district to espouse the side of Constantius, who was still alive.
§ 1. When Julian heard of this transaction, being then at Nissa, as he feared nothing unfriendly in his rear, and had read and heard that this city, though often besieged, |261 had never been destroyed or taken, hastened the more eagerly to gain it, either by stratagem, or by some kind of flattery or other, before any more formidable event should arise.
2. Therefore he ordered Jovinus, the captain of his cavalry, who was marching over the Alps, and had entered Noricum, to return with all speed, to remedy by some means or other, the evil which had burst out. And, that nothing might be wanting, he bade him retain all the soldiers who were marching after his court or his standards and passing through that town, and to avail himself of their help to the utmost.
3. When he had made these arrangements, having soon afterwards heard of the death of Constantius, he crossed through Thrace, and entered Constantinople: and having been often assured that the siege would be protracted rather than formidable, he sent Immo with some other counts to conduct it; and removed Jovinus to employ him in other matters of greater importance.
4. Therefore, having surrounded Aquileia with a double line of heavy infantry, the generals all agreed upon trying to induce the garrison to surrender, using alternately threats and caresses; but after many proposals and replies had been interchanged, their obstinacy only increased, and the conferences were abandoned, having proved wholly ineffectual.
5. And because there was now no prospect but that of a battle, both sides refreshed themselves with sleep and food; and at daybreak the trumpets sounded, and the two armies, arrayed for reciprocal slaughter, attacked one another with loud shouts, but with more ferocity than skill.
6. Therefore the besiegers, bearing wooden penthouses over them, and closely woven wicker defences, marched on slowly and cautiously, and attempted to undermine the walls with iron tools: many also bore ladders which had been made of the height of the walls, and came up close to them: when some were dashed down by stones hurled on their heads, others were transfixed by whizzing javelins, and falling back, dragged with them those who were in their rear; and others, from fear of similar mischances, shrank from the attack. |262
7. The besieged being encouraged by the issue of this first conflict, and hoping for still better success, disregarded the rest of the attacks made on them; and with resolute minds they stationed engines in suitable positions, and with unwearied toil discharged the duties of watching and of whatever else could tend to their safety.
8. On the other hand, the besiegers, though fearing another combat, and full of anxiety, still out of shame would not appear lazy or cowardly, and as they could make no way by open attacks, they also applied themselves to the various manoeuvres employed in sieges. And because there was no ground favourable for working battering-rams or other engines, nor for making mines, since the river Natiso passed under the walls of the city, they contrived a plan worthy to be compared with any effort of ancient skill.
9. With great rapidity they built some wooden towers, higher than the battlements of the enemy, and then fastening their boats together, they placed these towers on them. In them they stationed soldiers, who, with undaunted resolution, laboured to drive down the garrison from the walls; while under them were bodies of light infantry wholly unencumbered, who going forth from the hollow parts of the towers below, threw drawbridges across, which they had put together beforehand, and so tried to cross over to the bottom of the wall while the attention of the garrison was diverted from them; so that while those above them were attacking one another with darts and stones, those who crossed over on the drawbridges might be able without interruption to break down a portion of the wall and so effect an entrance.
10. But once more a clever design failed in its result. For when the towers came close to the walls, they were assailed with brands steeped in pitch, and reeds, and faggots, and every kind of food for flames, all kindled. The towers quickly caught fire, and yielding under the weight of the men who were mounted on them, fell into the river, while some of the soldiers on their summits, even before they fell, had been pierced with javelins hurled from the engines on the walls, and so died.
11. Meanwhile the soldiers at the foot of the wall, being cut off by the destruction of their comrades in the boats, |263 were crushed with huge stones, with the exception of a few, who, in spite of the difficult ground over which their flight lay, escaped by their swiftness of foot. At last, when the contest had been protracted till evening, the usual signal for retreat was given, and the combatants parted to pass the night with very different feelings.
12. The losses of the besiegers, who had suffered greatly, encouraged the defenders of the town with hopes of victory, though they also had to mourn the deaths of some few of their number. Nevertheless, the preparations went on rapidly. Rest and food refreshed their bodies during the night; and at dawn of day the conflict was renewed at the trumpet's signal.
13. Some, holding their shields over their heads, in order to fight with more activity; others, in front, bore ladders on their shoulders, and rushed on with eager vehemence, exposing their breasts to wounds from every kind of weapon. Some endeavoured to break down the iron bars of the gates; but were attacked with fire, or crushed under stones hurled from the walls. Some boldly strove to cross the fosses, but fell beneath the sudden sallies of soldiers rushing out from postern gates, or were driven back with severe wounds. For those who sallied forth had an easy retreat within the walls, and the rampart in front of the walls, strengthened with turf, saved those who lay in wait behind it from all danger.
14. Although the garrison excelled in endurance and in the arts of war, without any other aid than that of their walls, still our soldiers, being attacked as they were from a more numerous force, became impatient of the long delay, and moved round and round the suburbs, seeking diligently to discover by what force or what engines they could make their way out of the city.
15. But as, through the greatness of the difficulties in their way, they could not accomplish this, they began to slacken their exertions as to the siege itself, and leaving a few watches and outposts, ravaged the adjacent country, and thus obtained all kinds of supplies, dividing their booty with their comrades. The consequence was, that excessivo eating and drinking proved injurious to their health. |264
16. When, however, Immo and his colleagues reported this to Julian, who was passing the winter at Constantinople, he applied a wise remedy to such a disorder, and sent thither Agilo, the commander of his infantry, an officer in great esteem, that when a man of his rank and reputation appeared there and took the intelligence of the death of Constantius to the army, the siege might be terminated in that way.
17. In the mean while, not to abandon the siege of Aquileia, as all other attempts had proved futile, the generals endeavoured to compel the citizens to surrender by want of water. So they cut the aqueducts; but as the garrison still resisted with undiminished courage, they, with vast valour, diverted the stream of the river. But this again was done in vain; for they reduced the allowance of water to each man; and contented themselves with the scanty supply they could procure from wells.
18. While these affairs were proceeding thus, Agilo arrived, as he had been commanded; and, being protected by a strong body of heavy infantry, came up boldly close to the walls; and in a long and veracious speech, told the citizens of the death of Constantius, and the confirmation of Julian's power; but was reviled and treated as a liar. Nor would any one believe his statement of what had occurred, till on promise of safety he was admitted by himself to the edge of the defences; where, with a solemn oath, he repeated what he had before related.
19. When his story was heard, they all, eager to be released from their protracted sufferings, threw open the gates and rushed out, admitting him in the joy as a captain who brought them peace; and excusing themselves, they gave up Nigrinus as the author of their mad resistance, and a few others; demanding that their punishment should be taken as an atonement for the treason and sufferings of the city.
20. Accordingly, a few days later, the affair was rigorously investigated; Mamertinus, the prefect of the praetorium, sitting as judge; and Nigrinus, as the cause of the war, was burnt alive. After him, Romulus and Sabostius, men who had held high office, being convicted of having sown discord in the empire without any regard to the consequences, were beheaded; and all the rest escaped |265 unpunished, as men who had been driven to hostilities by necessity, and not by their own inclination; this being the decision of the merciful and clement emperor, after a full consideration of justice. These things, however, happened some time afterwards.
21. But Julian, who was still at Nissa, was occupied in the graver cases, being full of fears on both sides. For he was apprehensive lest the defiles of the Julian Alps might be seized and barred against him by some sudden onset of the troops who had been shut up in Aquileia; by which he might lose the provinces beyond, and the supplies which he was daily expecting from that quarter.
22. And he also greatly feared the power of the East; hearing that the soldiers who were scattered over Thrace had been suddenly collected together to act against him, and were advancing towards the frontiers of the Succi, under command of Count Marcianus. But, devising measures suitable to this mass of pressing anxieties, he quickly assembled his Illyrian army, long inured to war, and eager to renew its martial labours under a warlike chief.
23. Nor even at this critical moment did he forget the interests of individuals; but devoted some time to hearing contested causes, especially those concerning municipal bodies, in whose favour he was too partial, so that he raised several persons who did not deserve such honour to public offices.
24. It was here that he found Symmachus and Maximus, two eminent senators, who had been sent by the nobles as envoys to Constantius, and had returned again. He promoted them with great honour; so that, preferring them to others more deserving, he made Maximus prefect of the eternal city, in order to gratify Rufinus Vulcatius, whose nephew he was. Under his administration the city enjoyed great plenty, and there was an end to the complaints of the common people, which had been so frequent.
25. Afterwards, in order to add security to those of his affairs which were still unsettled, and encourage the confidence of the loyal, he raised Mamertinus, the prefect of the praetorium in Illyricum, and Nevitta to the consulship; though he had so lately assailed the memory of Constantine as the person who had set the example of thus promoting low-born barbarians. |266
§ 1. While Julian was thus carrying out new projects, and alternating between hope and fear, Constantius at Edessa, being made anxious by the various accounts brought him by his spies, was full of perplexity. At one time collecting his army for battle; at another, wishing to lay siege to Bezabde on two sides, if he could find an opportunity; taking at the same time prudent precautions not to leave Mesopotamia unprotected, while about to march into the districts of Armenia.
2. But while still undecided, he was detained by various causes. Sapor also remained on the other side of the Tigris till the sacrifices should become propitious to his moving. For if after crossing the river he found no resistance, he might without difficulty penetrate to the Euphrates. On the other hand, if he wished to keep his soldiers for the civil war, he feared to expose them to the dangers of a siege; having already experienced the strength of the walls and the vigour of the garrison.
3. However, not to lose time, and to avoid inactivity, he sent Arbetio and Agilo, the captains of his infantry and cavalry, with very large forces, to march with all speed; not to provoke the Persians to battle, but to establish forts on the nearest bank of the Tigris, which might be able to reconnoitre, and see in what direction the furious monarch broke forth; and with many counsels given both verbally and in writing, he charged them to retreat with celerity the moment the enemy's army began to cross the river.
4. While those generals were watching the frontier as they were ordered, and spying out the secret designs of their most crafty enemy, he himself, with the main body of his army, made head against his most pressing foes, as if prepared for battle; and defended the adjacent towns by rapid movements. Meantime spies and deserters continually coming in, related to him opposite stories; being in fact ignorant of what was intended, because among the Persians no one knows what is decided on except a few taciturn and trusty nobles, by whom the god Silence is worshipped.
5. But the emperor was continually sent for by the |267 generals whom I have mentioned, who implored him to send them aid. For they protested that unless the whole strength of the army was collected together, it would be impossible to withstand the onset of the furious Sapor.
6. And while things in this quarter were thus full of anxiety, other messengers arrived in numbers, by whose accurate statements he learnt that Julian had traversed Italy and Illyricum with great rapidity, had occupied the defiles of the Succi, and called in auxiliaries from all quarters, and was now marching through Thrace with a very large force.
7. Constantius, learning this, was overwhelmed with grief, but supported by one comfort, that he had always triumphed over internal commotions. Nevertheless, though the affair made it very difficult for him to decide on a line of action, he chose the best; and sent a body of troops on by public conveyances, in order as quickly as possible to make head against the impending danger.
8. And as that plan was universally approved, the troops went as they were commanded, in the lightest marching order. But the next day, while he was finally arranging these matters, he received intelligence that Sapor, with his whole army, had returned to his own country, because the auspices were unfavourable. So, his fears being removed, he called in all the troops except those who as usual were assigned for the protection of Mesopotamia, and returned to Hierapolis.
9. And still doubting what would be the final result of all his difficulties, when he had collected his army together he convened all the centuries and companies and squadrons by sound of trumpet; and the whole plain being filled with the host, he, standing on a lofty tribune, in order to encourage them the more readily to execute what he should direct, and being surrounded by a numerous retinue, spoke thus with great appearance of calmness and a studied look of confidence.
10. "Being always anxious never to do or say anything inconsistent with incorruptible honour, like a cautious pilot, who turns his helm this way or that way according to the movement of the waves, I am now constrained, my most affectionate subjects, to confess my errors to you, or rather, if I were to say the plain truth, my humanity, |268 which I did think would be beneficial to our common interests. So now that you may the better understand what is the object of convoking this assembly, listen, I pray you, with impartiality and kindness.
11. "At the time when Magnentius, whom your bravery overcome, was obstinately labouring to throw all things into confusion, I sent Gallus my cousin, who had been lately raised to the rank of Caesar, to guard the East. But he, having by many wicked and shameful arts departed from justice, was punished by a legal sentence.
12. "Would that Envy had then been contented, that most bitter exciter of troubles! And that we had nothing to grieve us but the single recollection of past sorrows, unaccompanied by any idea of present danger! But now a new circumstance, more grievous than any former one I will venture to say, has taken place, which the gods who aid us will put an end to by means of your innate valour.
13. "Julian, whom, while you were combating the nations which threaten Illyricum on all sides, I appointed to protect Gaul, presuming on the issue of some trifling battles which he has fought against the half-armed Germans, and full of silly elation, has taken a few auxiliary battalions into his noble alliance, men from their natural ferocity and the desperateness of their situation ready for acts of the most mischievous audacity, and has conspired against the public safety, trampling down justice, the parent and nurse of the Roman world. That power I believe, both because I myself have experienced it, and because all antiquity assures me of its might, will, as an avenger of wickedness, soon trample down their pride like so many ashes.
14. "What then remains, except to hasten to encounter the whirlwind thus raised against us? so as by promptitude to crush the fury of this rising war before it comes to maturity and strength? Nor can it be questioned that, with the favour of the supreme deity, by whose everlasting sentence ungrateful men are condemned, the sword which they have wickedly drawn will be turned to their own destruction. Since never having received any provocation, but rather after having been loaded with benefits, they have risen up to threaten innocent men with danger. |269
15. "For as my mind augurs, and as justice, which will aid upright counsels, promises, I feel sure that when once we come to close quarters, they will be so benumbed with fear as neither to be able to stand the fire of your glancing eyes nor the sound of your battle cry." This speech harmonized well with the feelings of the soldiers. In their rage they brandished their shields, and after answering him in terms of eager goodwill, demanded to be led at once against the rebels. Their cordiality changed the emperor's fear into joy; and having dismissed the assembly, as he knew by past experience that Arbetio was most eminently successful in putting an end to intestine wars, he ordered him to advance first by the road which he himself designed to take, with the spearmen and the legion of Mattium, and several battalions of light troops; he also ordered Gomoarius to take with him the Leti, to check the enemy on their arrival among the defiles of the Succi; he was selected for this service because he was unfriendly to Julian on account of some slight he had received from him in Gaul.
§ 1. While the fortune of Constantius was now wavering and tottering in this tumult of adverse circumstances, it showed plainly by signs which almost spoke that a very critical moment of his life was at hand. For he was terrified by nocturnal visions, and before he was thoroughly asleep he had seen the shade of his father bringing him a beautiful child; and when he received it and placed it in his bosom, it struck a globe which he had in his right hand to a distance. Now this indicated a change of circumstances, although those who interpreted it gave favourable answers when consulted.
2. After this he confessed to his most intimate friends that, as if he were wholly forsaken, he had ceased to see a secret vision which sometimes he had fancied appeared to him in mournful guise; and he believed that the genius who had been appointed to watch over his safety had abandoned him, as one who was soon to leave the world. |270
3. For the opinion of theologians is, that all men when they are born (without prejudice to the power of destiny) are connected with a superior power of this kind, who, as it were, guides their actions; but who is seen by very few, and only by those who are endued with great and various virtues.
4. This may be collected both from oracles and from eminent writers. Among whom is the comic poet Menander, in whose works these two verses are found:—
"A spirit is assigned to every man
When born to guide him in the path of life."
5. It may also be gathered from the immortal poetry of Homer, that they were not really the gods of heaven who conversed with his heroes, or stood by them and aided them in their combats; but the familiar genii who belonged to them; to whom also, as their principal support, Pythagoras owes his eminence, and Socrates and Numa Pompilius and the elder Scipio. And, as some fancy, Marius, and Octavianus the first, who took the name of Augustus. And Hermes Trismegistus, and Apollonius of Tyana, and Plotinus, who ventured upon some very mystical dismissions of this point; and endeavoured to show by profound reasoning what is the original cause why these genii, being thus connected with the souls of mortals, protect them as if they had been nursed in their own bosoms, as far as they are permitted; and, if they find them pure, preserving the body untainted by any connection with vice, and free from all taint of sin, instruct them in loftier mysteries.
§ 1. Constantius therefore, having hastened to Antioch, according to his wont, at the first movement of a civil war which he was eager to encounter, as soon as he had made all his preparations, was in amazing haste to march, though many of his court were so unwilling as even to proceed to murmurs. For no one dare openly to remonstrate or object to his plan.
2. He set forth towards the end of autumn; and when he reached the suburb called Hippocephalus, which is about three miles from the town, as soon as it was daylight |271 he saw on his right the corpse of a man who had been murdered, lying with his head torn off from the body, stretched out towards the west—and though alarmed at the omen, which seemed as if the Fates were preparing his end, he went on more resolutely, and came to Tarsus, where he caught a slight fever; and thinking that the motion of his journey would remove the distemper, he went on by bad roads; directing his course by Mopsucrenae, the farthest station in Cilicia for those who travel from hence, at the foot of Mount Taurus.
3. But when he attempted to proceed the next day he was prevented by the increasing violence of his disorder, and the fever began gradually to inflame his veins, so that his body felt like a little fire, and could scarcely be touched; and as all remedies failed, he began in the last extremity to bewail his death; and while his mental faculties were still entire, he is said to have indicated Julian as the successor to his power. Presently the last struggle of death came on, and he lost the power of speech. And after long and painful agony he died on the fifth of October, having lived and reigned forty years and a few months.
4. After bewailing his death with groans, lamentations, and mourning, those of the highest rank in the royal palace deliberated what to do or to attempt; and having secretly consulted a few persons about the election of an emperor, at the instigation, as it is said, of Eusebius, who was stimulated by his consciousness of guilt (since Julian was approaching who was prepared to oppose his attempts at innovation), they sent Theolaiphus and Aligildus, who at that time were counts, to him, to announce the death of his kinsman; and to entreat him to lay aside all delay and hasten to take possession of the East, which was prepared to obey him.
5. But fame and an uncertain report whispered that Constantius had left a will, in which, as we have already mentioned, he had named Julian as his heir; and had given commissions and legacies to his friends. But he left his wife in the family way, who subsequently had a daughter, who received the same name, and was afterwards married to Gratianus. |272
§ 1. In accurately distinguishing the virtues and vices of Constantius, it will be well to take the virtues first. Always preserving the dignity of the imperial authority, he proudly and magnanimously disdained popularity. In conferring the higher dignities he was very sparing, and allowed very few changes to be made in the administration of the finances. Nor did he ever encourage the arrogance of the soldiers.
2. Nor under him was any general promoted to the title of most illustrious. For there was also, as we have already mentioned, the title of most perfect. Nor had the governor of a province occasion to court a commander of cavalry; as Constantius never allowed those officers to meddle with civil affairs. But all officers, both military and civil, were according to the respectful usages of old, inferior to that of the prefect of the praetorium, which was the most honourable of all.
3. In taking care of the soldiers he was very cautious: an examiner into their merits, sometimes over-scrupulous, giving dignities about the palace as if with scales. Under him no one who was not well known to him, or who was favoured merely by some sudden impulse, ever received any high appointment in the palace. But only such as had served ten years in some capacity or other could look for such appointments as master of the ceremonies or treasurer. The successful candidates could always be known beforehand; and it very seldom happened that any military officer was transferred to a civil office; while on the other hand none but veteran soldiers were appointed to command troops. |273
4. He was a diligent cultivator of learning, but, as his blunted talent was not suited to rhetoric, he devoted himself to versification; in which, however, he did nothing worth speaking of.
5. In his way of life he was economical and temperate, and by moderation in eating and drinking he preserved such robust health that he was rarely ill, though when ill dangerously so. For repeated experience and proof has shown that this is the case with persons who avoid licentiousness and luxury.
6. He was contented with very little sleep, which he took when time and season allowed; and throughout his long life he was so extremely chaste that no suspicion was ever cast on him in this respect, though it is a charge which, even when it can find no ground, malignity is apt to fasten on princes.
7. In riding and throwing the javelin, in shooting with the bow, and in all the accomplishments of military exercises, he was admirably skilful. That he never blew his nose in public, never spat, never was seen to change countenance, and that he never in all his life ate any fruit I pass over, as what has been often related before.
8. Having now briefly enumerated his good qualities with which we have been able to become acquainted, let us now proceed to speak of his vices. In other respects he was equal to average princes, but if he had the slightest reason (even if founded on wholly false information) for suspecting any one of aiming at supreme power, he would at once institute the most rigorous inquiry, trampling down right and wrong alike, and outdo the cruelty of Caligula, Domitian, or Commodus, whose barbarity he rivalled at the very beginning of his reign, when he shamefully put to death his own connections and relations.
9. And his cruelty and morose suspicions, which were directed against everything of the kind, were a cruel addition to the sufferings of the unhappy persons who were accused of sedition or treason.
10. And if anything of the kind got wind, he instituted investigations of a more terrible nature than the law sanctioned, appointing men of known cruelty as judges in such cases; and in punishing offenders he endeavoured to protract their deaths as long as nature would allow, being in |274 such cases more savage than even Gallienus. For he, though assailed by incessant and real plots of rebels, such as Aureolus, Posthumus, Ingenuus, and Valens who was surnamed the Thessalonian, and many others, often mitigated the penalty of crimes liable to sentence of death; while Constantius caused facts which were really unquestionable to be looked upon as doubtful by the excessive inhumanity of his tortures.
11. In such cases he had a mortal hatred of justice, even though his great object was to be accounted just and merciful: and as sparks flying from a dry wood, by a mere breath of wind are sometimes carried on with unrestrained course to the danger of the country villages around, so he also from the most trivial causes kindled heaps of evils, being very unlike that wise emperor Marcus Aurelius, who, when Cassius in Syria aspired to the supreme power, and when a bundle of letters which he had written to his accomplices, was taken with their bearer, and brought to him, ordered them at once to be burned, while he was still in Illyricum, in order that he might not know who had plotted against him, and so against his will be obliged to consider some persons as his enemies.
12. And, as some right-thinking people are of opinion, it was rather an indication of great virtue in Constantius to have quelled the empire without shedding more blood, than to have revenged himself with such cruelty.
13. As Cicero also teaches us, when in one of his letters to Nepos he accuses Caesar of cruelty, "For," says he, "felicity is nothing else but success in what is honourable;" or to define it in another way, "Felicity is fortune assisting good counsels, and he who is not guided by such cannot be happy. Therefore in wicked and impious designs such as those of Caesar there could be no felicity; and in my judgment Camillus when in exile was happier than Manlius at the same time, even if Manlius had been able to make himself king, as he wished."'
14. The same is the language of Heraclitus of Ephesus, when he remarks that men of eminent capacity and virtue, through the caprice of fortune, have often been overcome by men destitute of either talent or energy. But that that glory is the best when power, existing with high rank, forces, as it were, its inclinations to be angry and cruel, |275 and oppressive under the yoke, and so erects a glorious trophy in the citadel of its victorious mind.
15. But as in his foreign wars this emperor was unsuccessful and unfortunate, on the other hand in his civil contests he was successful; and in all those domestic calamities he covered himself with the horrid blood of the enemies of the republic and of himself; and yielding to his elation at these triumphs in a way neither right nor usual, he erected at a vast expense triumphal arches in Gaul and the two Pannonias, to record his triumphs over his own provinces; engraving on them the titles of his exploits ... as long as they should last, to those who read the inscriptions.
16. He was preposterously addicted to listening to his wives, and to the thin voices of his eunuchs, and some of his courtiers, who applauded all his words, and watched everything he said, whether in approval or disapproval, in order to agree with it.
17. The misery of these times was further increased by the insatiable covetousness of his tax-collectors, who brought him more odium than money; and to many persons this seemed the more intolerable, because he never listened to any excuse, never took any measures for relief of the provinces when oppressed by the multiplicity of taxes and imposts; and in addition to all this he was very apt to take back any exemptions which he had granted.
18. He confused the Christian religion, which is plain and simple, with old women's superstitions; in investigating which he preferred perplexing himself to settling its questions with dignity, so that he excited much dissension; which he further encouraged by diffuse wordy explanations: he ruined the establishment of public conveyances by devoting them to the service of crowds of priests, who went to and fro to different synods, as they call the meetings at which they endeavour to settle everything according to their own fancy.
19. As to his personal appearance and stature, he was of a dark complexion with prominent eyes; of keen sight, soft hair, with his cheeks carefully shaved, and bright looking. From his waist to his neck he was rather long, his legs were very short and crooked, which made him a good leaper and runner. |276
20. When the body of the deceased emperor had been laid out, and placed in a coffin, Jovianus, at that time the chief officer of the guard, was ordered to attend it with royal pomp to Constantinople, to be buried among his relations.
21. While he was proceeding on the vehicle which bore the remains, samples of the military provisions were brought to him as an offering, as is usual in the case of princes; and the public animals were paraded before him; and a concourse of people came out to meet him as was usual; which, with other similar demonstrations, seemed to portend to Jovianus, as the superintendent of his funeral, the attainment of the empire, but an authority only curtailed and shadowy.
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